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World War 1 calls Indians into Protest

Indians educate in British Schools applied European ideas of Democracy and Nationalism to the politics in their own country.
Those well-educated Indians were unhappy about the British rule and started to protest. Indians formed two groups: Indian National Congress (1885) and Muslim League (1906). Despite the fact that they had a religious barrier between them, yet, they had the same cause and purpose for independence.

Nationalism Activity

The nationalism of Indians remained calm until over a million Indians joined the British army. The British offered Indians the autonomy of their country for enlisting in the army. The Indians, in expectations of gaining independence after the war, fought hard. In 1918, the Indian soldiers came back home thinking they would have their own government. However, they found themselves still treated as the second-class citizens. Angry nationalists expressed their hatred by using violence. In response, the British passed the Rowlatt Act--jailing protesters without going into trial. The educated Indians with knowledge of Western ideas went against this act in Punjab.

Amritsar Massacre

To protest against the Rowlatt Act, 10,000 Hindus and Muslims flocked to Amritsar, the capital city of Punjab in 1919. This demonstration alarmed the British. General Reginald Dyer believed that they were defying the ban of the meeting. He ordered his troops to fire at the innocent crowd of men, women, and children. The shooting lasted for 10 minutes with 1200 Indians dead.

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Gandhi's Principles of Nonviolence

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After the Amritsar Massacre, Mohandas K. Gandhi became the leader of the Independence Movement. He left his country and attended a law-school in England. Before he came back to India, he lived in South Africa as a lawyer. When he heard about the Amritsar Massacre, he came back to India to help save his nation. He emerged as a leader of the Indians. His teachings blended ideas from all of major religions. He had millions of followers, and they called him Mahatma meaning "the great soul."

One of his major principle was Civil Disobedience.
Civil Disobedience: A way to protest for self-rule without any violence. He called it the Principal of Satyagraha.

Gandhi told Indians to revolt peacefully. It was to disobey the laws and unjust law only specific to Indians, such as not buying British goods, not attending law school, not paying taxes, and to wear their homespun clothes instead of the British clothings. This dropped the sale of the British clothes sharply. By 1920, the British arrested thousands of Indians. Gandhi's way of civil disobedience made a economical disorder on the British; they struggled to keep trains and factory working, and organization of overcrowded jails failed. In 1922, rioters attacked a police station and set some polices on fire. However, Gandhi opposed to this action, and wanted his people people to pursue peaceful protests.

Salt March

Along with Gandhi's plan to boycott British clothing, he decided to make their own salt too. Indians were under a restricted rule that they could not purchase salt from the anywhere else but the government AND paid taxes for them. To show their hatred, Gandhi and his followers walked 240 miles off to the seacoast, where they made their own salt by evaporating collected sea water. This action was called the Salt March.
They later decided to go to where the British made salt. Their main purpose was to shut the salt works down. Unforutunately their plan did no work out.They were attacked by police officers with steel-tipped clubs. An American journalist witnessed this event and explained this moment: "sickening whacks of clubs on unprotected skulls" and people "writhing in pain with fractured skulls or broken shoulders". Even through this the Salt Marchers kept on going, in the end, 60,000 people, including Gandhi, were arrested. People around the world read newspaper articles about this event and it won support from around the globe for Gandhi's independence movement.

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India Self-Rule

Gandhi and his followers gained power as of their campaigns. In 1935, the British government provided Indian with partial self-government and limited democratic elections. Then India gained full-independence from Britain. However, this caused conflicts between Hindus and Muslims. When they were wanting independence before, they were collaborative with the same mind and goal. Now that they have reached their goal, they both were conflicting over power in the same nation. As Hindus had more people than Muslims, Muslims feared that Hindus will overrule India.

Nationalism in Southwest Asia

After World War I, Southwest Asian countries also wanted independence. Nationalism grew and the Ottoman Empire fell and Western countries gained interest in the Southwest Asian countries.


By the end of WWI, Turkey was the only part of the Ottoman Empire that was left. Mustafa Kemal, who became the president of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, was the leader of overthrowing the rest of Ottoman Empire. He modernized the new nation by separating the laws of Islam and the laws of the nation. He also granted women more freedom such as the right to vote and to hold public offices. Kemal also industrialized Turkey and stimulated economic growth by funding programs.

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Persia becomes Iran

Before World War I, both Great Britain and Russia claimed Persia as their spheres of influence. But now that the war is over, and Russia is unstable from the Bolshevik Revolution, Britain wants to take all of Persia. And this irritated the nationalists in Persia. Instead of Britain taking power, a Persian army officer, Reza Shah Pahlavi gained the power. He also tried to modernize India as Kemal did to Turkey. He established public schools, built roads, built rail roads, promoted industrial growth, and gave rights to women. However, he kept power by himself and changed the name of Persia into Iran in 1935.

Saudi Arabia

While Turkey lost many of the Islamic traditions, Saudi Arabia kept the Islamic traditions firmly. Saudi Arabia was named after a powerful Arabian family member, Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud. He brought Arabic and Islamic traditions into his country. His custom, religion, and family ties made him loyal to the Saudi government. Alcohol was illegal, yet he brought some technology into Saudi Arabia such as telephones and radios. However, technological development was limited due to their strict religion. This made their country not as modernized as Turkey.


Oil Resources and Economic Development

While nationalism kept spreading, Southwest Asia had another new direction. The demands for petroleum products were increasing and people came to explore the regions. European and American companies discovered large oil deposits during 1920s and 1930s. The main countries were Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Later, geologist found out that 2/3 of the world's oil was located around the Persian Gulf. Through these discoveries, countries such as Saudi Arabia quickly developed economically. The oil brought many countries large profits, but also dragged Westerners' interests to colonize the regions with oil.